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November 30, 2012

Mailbag: Frazier a face in the crowd

MORE: Syracuse, UTEP move up team rankings

Rivals.com basketball recruiting analyst Eric Bossi handles readers' questions in his latest mailbag.

Mustangs generate buzz

There has been a lot of speculation that SMU is making a move with Keith Frazier. Last night he was at the SMU game. What have you heard on him?
-- Sam, Dallas (via email)

A 6-foot-5, unsigned, five-star shooting guard at Dallas (Texas) Kimball, Frazier is undoubtedly one of the most attractive perimeter options remaining in the class of 2013. Along with SMU, LSU, Texas A&M and Texas look to be the biggest competitors for the lanky jump shooter.

Taking a closer look, it's actually the Mustangs and the Aggies who have generated the most behind-the-scenes talk, and of late it's been Larry Brown and the Mustangs who seem like they could be getting the hottest. A campus visit for a game is certainly a step in the right direction, but we also need to be careful because a Dallas kid considering a Dallas-based program going to watch a game isn't altogether huge news. Also, Frazier's camp has been extremely tight-lipped about any leanings. However, overall, SMU's recruitment of Frazier is headed in a positive direction.

Hoosiers a fit for Lyle

How do you like Jaquan Lyle to Indiana. What do you feel there?
-- @mleff6 (via twitter)

From a pure standpoint of whether Lyle would fit in with Indiana and its ball movement, yes, I like Lyle as a fit for the Hoosiers. The 6-foot-4, five-star point guard from Evansville (Ind.) Bosse is an outstanding passer and ball mover who is also a physical scorer off of the dribble. The visit to IU was his second in a little over a month, and the Hoosiers are definitely in the mix. However, I don't see Lyle as one who will be making a decision particularly soon, and I think it would be premature to call anybody a leader. Illinois, Kentucky, Louisville, Georgetown, Cincinnati and many others are involved.

UTEP ranks 16th

Where would you rank UTEP's basketball recruiting class after the early signing period?
-- @maloney021 (via twitter)

We actually just released our updated team rankings for the class of 2013. Tim Floyd's class checks in at No. 16 nationally thanks in large part to the signing of five-star guard Isaac Hamilton.

Comparing Randle

Some people say that Julius Randle's short wingspan will hurt him in the pros, but I think he will be a beast. I see a lot of Melo in his game, no?
-- @QueensKid80 (via twitter)

At Nike's LeBron James Skills Academy in July, the 6-foot-9 Randle was measured with a 6-foot-11 wingspan. While that isn't terribly lengthy, the five-star senior from Plano (Texas) Prestonwood Christian doesn't exactly have T-Rex arms either.

Comparisons for Randle are tough, and I've heard Carmelo Anthony (especially because of the wing catch sidewise, face and attack move he favors like 'Melo), some people use Zach Randolph, some have used Chris Webber and I've even heard some Glenn Robinson (Big Dog, not Trey) comparisons. I haven't settled on a comparison I like, and I can see all of those. Looking at him at the NBA level, I think the biggest question that some have is whether he has enough straight-up explosiveness to be a reliable finisher around the rim and in traffic. He's clearly a very good ball handler, quick, has straight-line speed, loves contact and will rebound.

Early surprises

I know that it's very early in the season, but have you seen anybody yet from the class of 2012 that you wish you would have ranked higher or lower?
-- Trevin, Birmingham (via email)

Good question. I have said on the message boards over and over that I'd rather not start talking overrated or underrated until we've at least gotten into a bit of conference play. But there are a few situations that I'm monitoring. Let's start with a few guys who have exceeded expectations and that maybe could have been ranked higher. Michigan shooter Nick Stauskas is one we were already a little higher on than many others, but at No. 71 nationally it's looking like we probably weren't quite high enough. Big man Josh Scott at Colorado (No. 61) has also been better than expected, and we had high hopes for him. It's looking like both of those guys could have been at least top-50 players.

On the other side, we've been a little surprised at the play of Grant Jerrett at Arizona and Kyle Anderson at UCLA. The worry all along with Jerrett was that he was perhaps a little stiff and would lose even more mobility as he gained weight and that he might not be a great finisher. With Anderson, he's not looked at all himself as he's struggled with decision making. With Jerrett, hopefully as he adjusts to physicality, he will improve his finishing and bring his percentages up. With Anderson, looks like his poor shooting has moved into other areas of his game (save for rebounding), but his basketball savvy should win out in the end.

On the docket

Who are you most looking forward to watching this winter, and what events do you plan to attend?
-- James, Seattle (via email)

I don't know that there is any one particular player about whom I am like, "Man, I have got to see this guy play." I'm always looking for new players and to check up on how the guys we already know about are doing. However, I would say that Jabari Parker is pretty high on my list. But he's been out for a while with an injury and exactly when he'll return seems unclear. Another senior I'm really looking forward to seeing is Brandon Austin from Philadelphia.

From an event standpoint, I've been to the National Prep Showcase in New Haven, Conn., and the Thanksgiving Hoopfest in Duncanville, Texas. Still to come for me this winter are planned stops (in order) at the Chicago Elite Classic this weekend, National Hoops Festival (Washington, D.C.), Kyle Lowry FamJuice Tipoff Classic (Philadelphia), Hy-Vee Shootout (Kansas City), City of Palms (Fort Myers, Fla.), Tarkanian Classic (Las Vegas), Brandon Jennings Invitational (Milwaukee), Bass Pro Tournament of Champions (Springfield, Mo.), Hoophall Classic (Springfield, Mass.) and the Nike Extravaganza (Anaheim, Calif.).

Other events (and the list is still growing) slated to receive national coverage from the Rivals.com hoops team include the Marshall County Hoopfest, the Penny Hardaway Classic and Flyin to the Hoop.



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